The Shankill, by Buzz Logan
The Shankill, by Buzz Logan
Catalogue from exhibition at Spectrum Centre.
Introduction by Jackie Redpath.
59 monochrome photographs.
One day in October 1976 Buzz Logan arrived on the Shankill Road from Dublin where he had been working as a staff photographer for the Irish Independent newspaper. He had an immediate rapport with 'the Road’, seeing in it a mirror reflection of the North Dublin inner city he had be photographing on his days off. Buzz only intended coming for one day to the Shankill to 'have a look', he ended up never really leaving. The Shankill was to have it's own photographer for the next 13 years.
Buzz was born on a farm in Ballynure, south Antrim. He always remained a 'son of the soil' with a heightened sense of the elements, the seasons, light and of growth, change and creativity. In 1965 he graduated from Queen's University with an honours degree in psychology but choose to practise his first love - photography. He headed to Dublin as a freelance photographer and for 10 years was one of the city's leading press photographers. But he was restless for the freedom to develop the art of his photography and to 'make it count' : the Shankill provided the unlikely space for that to happen.
His early Shankill photos grew into an exhibition, which resulted in a book, 'The Shankill', published in 1979. By then Buzz had left Dublin and committed himself to the Shankill and his art. Through his Shankill Photographic Workshop dozens of local people were introduced to photography, while on a daily basis he built an unrivalled record of the people and social conditions on the Shankill during a time of brutal redevelopment and 'the Troubles'. His workshops reached across Belfast inspiring young people to 'pick up' a camera; Buzz was a pioneer in community photography. Newspapers were in his blood and soon the Shankill had it's own community newspaper, the 'Shankill Bulletin', inevitably marked out by the space it gave to photographs - 'print them big' was his mantra.
So what made Buzz leave a lucrative job as a press photographer to commit to the Shankill for 13 years before his untimely death at the age of 47.
First was his search for the freedom to practice his art; ' I just want to take great pics' he'd say. Rivalling this was his desire to make his pictures 'count', to make a difference and, allied to his strong social conscience and political awareness, the Shankill provided fertile ground to fulfil these possibilities.
Buzz was a big bear of a man, respected for his photographic skills and commitment and valued for his appetite for life, conviviality, breadth of knowledge, his expansive mind and his 'ever expanding universe’. For these reasons he left an indelible mark on those who knew him and on the life of the Shankill and that is why 30 years on we still mark his achievements in exhibitions and publications.